New Honorees at Fall Conference

   The South Dakota Firefighters Association Board of Directors invite you to the SDFA Fall Fire Conference, General Membership Meetings, and Fallen Firefighter Memorial Service the weekend of 29 September-1 October, at the AmericInn Conference Center in Fort Pierre. 

   The intent of the Fall Conference is to bring speakers and classroom sessions that will be meaningful to the challenges of fire and emergency services. It allows more time for open discussion and explanation of SDFA and fire service related topics around the state.

   This year’s Fall Conference will have Mr. Jeff Dill. Some of you made have heard him this spring at the wildland symposium in Rapid City, and was highly recommended by the Nebraska Firefighters Association. He is a retired firefighter from Palatine Rural Fire Protection District in Inverness, IL and licensed counselor emphasizing on behavioral health of first responders and their families. 

   We will also hear updates from behavioral health providers SDML Work Comp and Provident; State Wildland Fire program updates; and challenges with lessons learned from the 2021 Windy Fire at Lemmon.

   We will be concluding the conference with the Fallen Firefighters Memorial service on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. The short service is to honor all of those who have fallen in the execution of firefighting duties in South Dakota.

   This year, we have added Archie Murphy, Civilian Conservation Corps, and Fred Fedeler, Chester VFD to the list of monument honorees. The service takes place at the Memorial Site by Capitol Lake. In case of inclement weather, we will have it in the Capitol Building Rotunda. 

   Many of you may have been working on the State Fire PPE Assistance Grant application that is due 1 October. Check the SDFA website for application information. I have a separate article with a short list of answers to frequently asked questions that we hope will provide some guidance.

   This will be the ideal time for a detailed inventory and status of your department needs, and what the residents of your local coverage area expect or would like your department to provide for emergency response. A good departmental self-assessment. 

Do you need training, equipment, or training on equipment?

   The main thing to remember with the grant is, it is an assistance program, not a full replacement program like a FEMA grant. You may need 10 items, but the grant may fund 5. If you have some of the funding, then it just increased your spending capability. 

   When you look at the application, the survey of need is important to the program. We are trying to collect data that shows the need for basic equipment and the challenge it is for volunteer departments to fund these purchases. Most people don’t realize it is getting close to $10,000 to outfit one structural firefighter. 

   School is back in session and plenty of activities underway. Harvest time will be coming quick. Stay safe,

Charlie Kludt,

SDFA President



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